5 Tips for Melanoma Prevention

Safety in the sun

What’s the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer—including melanoma? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s sun exposure. Here are five ways it recommends to limit your skin’s contact with dangerous rays.

1. Seek shade

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. As a general rule, if your shadow is shorter than you are, find a shady spot.

2. Cover up

Long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses are good options for protecting your skin and eyes.

3. Slather on the sunscreen

Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Don’t forget to reapply approximately every two hours (even on cloudy days) and after swimming or sweating.

4. Be mindful of reflected light

Surfaces such as water, snow, and sand can reflect the sun’s rays and increase your chance of sunburn.

5. Skip the tanning bed

Whether it’s from the sun or a tanning bed, ultraviolet (UV) light can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Opt for a sunless self-tanning product and sunscreen instead.

Meet Our Writer

HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into Healthcentral.com in 2018.